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The Secret Public: How LGBTQ Resistance Shaped Popular Culture (1955–1979)

Jon Savage

A monumental history of the LGBTQ influence on popular culture, from the award-winning, Sunday Times bestselling author Jon Savage

Date Published
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A monumental history of the LGBTQ influence on popular culture, from the award-winning, Sunday Times-bestselling author.

An electrifying look at key moments in music and entertainment history between 1955 and 1979, which helped move gay culture from the margins to the mainstream and changed the face of pop forever – from the ambiguous sexuality of stars such as Little Richard in the 1950s through to David Bowie, glam rock and Sylvester’s ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’.

The Secret Public
is a searching examination of the fortitude and resilience of the gay community through the lens of popular music and culture; it reflects on the freedom found in divergence from the norm and reminds us of the need to be vigilant against those seeking to roll back the rights of marginalised groups.

Critic Reviews

The struggle for LGBTQ liberation is at the heart of post-war pop music and culture. Jon Savage’s fascinating new book reveals all.

Neil Tennant
Critic Reviews

The Secret Public is the missing story of the heart of pop, the untold story of bravery and love.

Johnny Marr
Critic Reviews

The secret queer history of pop music and how it changed the world. Fascinating, surprising and a damn entertaining read.

Peter Tatchell
Critic Reviews

From England’s Dreaming to 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded, Jon Savage’s books are always a treat. Weighty, meticulously researched histories packed with super-sharp original analysis, they invariably shed new light on their subjects. His take on queer culture’s impact on pop has been a long time coming, but will almost undoubtedly be worth the wait.

Guardian, The Best Pop and Classical Music to Look Out for in 2024
Critic Reviews

The story of the shift of gay culture from the margins to the mainstream and how this changed the nature of pop music forever, as told through this lively account of key moments personalities in entertainment history.

Financial Times, What to Read in 2024
Critic Reviews

A wonderfully authentic look at those times, from the birth of “the teenager” in the fifties to the power and influence of disco and club life in New York at the end of the 70s. A fascinating read.

Tony King

Jon Savage is the author of England’s Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock and Teenage: The Creation of Youth, 1875-1945. He is the writer of the award-winning film documentaries The Brian Epstein Story (1988) and Joy Division (2007), as well as the feature film Teenage (2013). His compilations include Meridian 1970 (Heavenly/EMI 2005) and Queer Noises: From the Closet to…

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